It’s always a strange feeling, reading through comments.
It brings me so much joy to read some of your comments. Comments saying that God is speaking to you. It brings me so much joy to hear how real He is and how much He is moving… How many people He is reaching out to… How much you love Him… The personal testimonies I have read have been truly inspiring and amazing to me. I thank God for each one I read. He knows how much joy and encouragement they bring me.
Then I get to the not so joyful comments. Comments from people I’ve offended. Comments from people who think purity is the most ridiculous notion spoken of. Emails from people who call me a monster for encouraging women to pursue purity. Comments from enraged “feminists.” Even comments from other brothers and sisters in Christ who have an opposing opinion, which is fine (I have plenty of those myself), but who chose to insult, persecute, blame, and shame. You name it.
In conclusion: Haters Gon’ Hate, and Haters come in all sorts of packages.
What does God have to say about that? How should we handle it?
Lemme tell you what – sometimes, my heart beats out of my chest and my hands shake so hard I can’t type. Sometimes out of stress. Sometimes out of rage. Sometimes out of deep sadness. I used to be brought to tears by the ugly words of some, which makes me so grateful that God has recently started speaking to me about it, and pressing it on my heart to share it.
I am doing the Beth Moore study called “Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit.” Day 1 you read Acts 13 and 14, where you basically learn how much of a beast Paul was for Christ (I mean that in a good way). He was literally unstoppable. Check this out:
Acts 13:43 – “When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.“
v. 45 – “When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him.“
v. 49-52 – “The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. But the Jewish leaders incited (or stirred up) the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. So they shook the dust of their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium. And the diciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.“
Acts 14:5-7 – “There was a plot afoot among both Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them. But they found out about it and fled…where they continued to preach the gospel.“
v. 19-20 – “Then some Jews came from Antiocha and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gather around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.”
Holy beast mode. Paul was stoned to near-death, then went BACK to the very people that nearly murdered him. Not only that, but he went back THAT SAME DAY it sounds like. Wow. If Paul can rush back into ministry after facing death, how much more we can continue in ours, whatever that ministry may look like, when we face hateful words or actions.
I’m realizing that God is opening my heart and eyes to the sufferings of others, whether they are in my home or across the world. I cannot imagine the pain and horror the Christians in Iraq are facing, along with other religious and ethnic groups being persecuted, tortured, murdered, and martyred over there. If they are fighting for the gospel, if Paul kept fighting, then so can we.
I read Galatians 1 this morning (I strongly encourage you to read it, it’s amazing). Day 2 in the Beth Moore study, she highlights the following verse:
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (v. 10)
Paul wrote that to the Galatians. And referring back to Acts 13 and 14, it is even more powerful, because we get a glimpse of the hardship that he faced when he was out sharing the Gospel and what God taught him in his own personal testimony.
There will always be haters. There will always be people who are quick to anger and slow to tame their tongue. Don’t let them stop you on your mission. Haters are always gon’ hate. But we don’t have to let them win. We can keep spreading God’s Word and love, even when met with resistance.